Leo Varadkar ‘cheering’ for Belgium against England in World Cup

Taoiseach spoke to reporters on Fianna Fáil and football ahead of EU Brexit talks in Brussels

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘If Belgium wins, England will probably get an easier ride in the next round. So perhaps it’s one of those win-win scenarios.’ Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuter

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘If Belgium wins, England will probably get an easier ride in the next round. So perhaps it’s one of those win-win scenarios.’ Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuter

 

In a move that may emphasise the isolation of British prime minister Theresa May at the summit of European leaders in Brussels, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he will be cheering for Belgium in their World Cup match against England on Thursday evening.

“Well look, I’m here in Belgium in Brussels so of course I’m going to be cheering for the home team,” Mr Varadkar told The Irish Times.

Hedging his bets somewhat, Mr Varadkar observed: “But of course if Belgium wins, England will probably get an easier ride in the next round. So perhaps it’s one of those win-win scenarios.”

Mr Varadkar is attending the two-day summit in Brussels where EU leaders will discuss the migration crisis in the Mediterranean, the EU’s budget, Franco-German plans for greater fiscal integration and Brexit.

Speaking to journalists as he entered the Thursday afternoon session in the headquarters of the European Council - the groups of all EU heads of government - Mr Varadkar was also asked about comments by the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who accused the Taoiseach of believing he has a “divine right to rule”.

“I don’t want to get involved in a tit for tat today,” Mr Varadkar said. “I’m here in Brussels doing important work on behalf of the Irish people.

“All I say is that Fianna Fáil has been sending a lot of mixed-messages about the confidence and supply agreement.

“Last month they were openly talking about voting in favour of a motion of no confidence in the housing Minister.

“This month they’re talking about not voting for the budget so we really need to understand whether or not Fianna Fáil is committed to the confidence and supply agreement in the long term,” Mr Varadkar said.